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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

g72                                              MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

oH, which becomes darker and thicker by exposure. It has an aromatic, camphoraceous
odour and a pungent taste, leaving a sensation of cold in the mouth. It is soluble m
alcohol It is a pharmacopoeial preparation, known as Oleum eucalypti. The dose is 1 to
3 minims. Unguentum eucalypti is a non-official preparation containing eucalyptus oil
in the proportion of 1 in 10. Eucalyptol (cineole), the chief constituent of eucalyptus oil,
is a pharmacopoeial preparation, the dose being 1 to 3 minims. It is ^ a colourless liquid,
having an aromatic odour and a pungent, cooling taste. It is soluble m paramn and fats.
Symptoms.— Applied to the skin, eucalyptus oil is less irritant than other volatile
oils but, if its vapour is confined, it will produce redness, irritation, vesication and even

Taken by the mouth in a large dose, eucalyptus oil acts both as an irritant and as
a narcotic poison, and causes nausea, vomiting, purging, abdominal pain, headache, foam
at the mouth, cyanosis, contracted pupils, cold, clammy skin, cramps, rapid pulse, slow,
stertorous breathing, albumin and blood in urine, unconsciousness and coma. Death
occurs from respiratory paralysis.

Fatal Dose and Fatal Period.— Uncertain. Two drachms of eucalyptus oil produced
toxic symptoms in a boy, aged 2| years,29 Three 30 and four** drachms have caused
poisonous symptoms in adults. Six drachms 32 killed a cabdriver, aged 34 years, in 40
hours. On the other hand, recovery has followed a large dose of one ounce and a half.3;i
Treatment— This consists in the lavage of the stomach, hypodermic administration
Of stimulants, such as strychnine, caffeine, etc. and inhalation of oxygen.

Post-mortem Appearances.— The mucous membrane of the stomach is red and con-
gested, and may sometimes be inflamed. The mucous membrane of the trachea and
bronchi is red and congested. The lungs are congested. The kidneys are acutely

Medico -Legal Points. — Poisoning by eucalyptus oil is not common, although a few
accidental cases have occurred from it having been swallowed in mistake for some medi-
cine. A case34 is recorded where a girl, 16 years old, drank some eucalyptus oil in
mistake for her fever mixture. She was taken to hospital in a drowsy condition. Her
breath smelt of eucalyptus oil. She recovered after her stomach was washed out in the
hospital. Eucalyptus oil was detected in the stomach wash. A case Jir> is also recorded
where a male infant, 7 weeks old, died from poisoning by eucalyptus oil administered
by his sister, 6J years old, to stop him from crying.

Rarely, suicidal cases have occurred. In his annual report for the year 1932, the
Chemical Examiner of Madras reports a suspected case of suicide, where a ticket col-
lector and a girl with whom he was living swallowed about an ounce each of eucalyptus
oil. They had vomitings and purgings, but recovered under treatment in hospital, The
vomitings and purgings showed eucalyptus oil on analysis.

Eucalyptus oil is excreted by the kidneys, and imparts to the urine an odour like
that of violets. It is also eliminated by the skin and the lungs.

Nutmeg (Myristica).— This is known as Jayphal in the vernacular and is the oval,
greyish-brown, and furrowed kernel of the seed of Myristica fragrans. (N,0. Myristi-
cacese), which grows in Southern India, Ceylon and Malay Peninsula. It contains an
active principle, Myristicin, which also occurs in the oil distilled from nutmeg. Owing
to its aromatic odour powdered or grated nutmeg is used as a flavouring agent and
condiment for culinary purposes, and is used in medicine as a gastric stimulant in 5 to
10-grain doses. It is also used as an abortifacient. Oil of nutmeg is a pharmacopoeial
preparation, known as oleum myristicoe the dose being 1 to 3 minims.

In large doses nutmeg acts as an irritant and narcotic poison, causing giddiness,
vertigo, headache, dilated pupils, vomiting, thirst, pain in the" abdomen, delirium with
hallucinations, and coma. It produces symptoms similar to those of poisoning by can-
nabis Indica and is used in Egypt as a substitute for hashish. One to one-and-a-half
powdered nutmegs have produced poisonous symptoms, while two powdered nutmegs
have caused death.36 On the other hand, recovery has followed the ingestion of five
powdered nutmegs.

The treatment consists in the administration of emetics, purgatives and stimulants.

29.   Orr, Brit. Med. Jour., May 12, 1906, p. 1085.

30.    Garrett, Brit. Med. Jour., June 27, 1925, p. 1172.

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OT"   ST^U' Brit Med' Joun' May 16' 1925> p' 922' Gibbin» Brit. Med. Jour,, June 4,

/Zi, p.  _LUUD.

32.   Myott, Brit. Med. Jour^ March 10, 1906, p. 558

33.   Bombay Chem. Analyser's Annual Report, 1932, p. 6.

34.   Madras Chem. Examinees Annual Rep., 1933   r>   7

35.   Pharm. Jour., Oct. 27, 1945, p. 194.

36.   Bamford, Poisons, their Isolation and Identification, Ed. Ill, p. 303.